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Barcelona can do a “Chelsea” and ruin Atletico’s La Liga dreams

| 01.05.2014

Much like the exhilarating Premier League title race this season, events over in La Liga have been equally thrilling as Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid have not only ruffled the feathers of Barcelona and Real Madrid, but are in prime position to scoop the title.

With three games to play, Atletico are the 3/10 favourites having engineered a four-point gap over Barca (10/1) and six over Champions League final opponents Real Madrid (10/3), though their city rivals still have a game in hand.

Although it’s not an exact mirror image of the situation in England’s top flight, it’s remarkably close.

Like Liverpool, Atleti are the surprise package of the season and as was the case before the Reds lost at home to Chelsea, they have their title destiny in their own hands.

And like Chelsea, who still sit second despite being the outsiders of a trio including Manchester City, Barcelona’s role in the destination of the title race could well be that of ‘spoiler’ rather than winner.

When Liverpool faced down their remaining trio of league fixtures, the only match which was marked clearly with ‘approach with caution’ was Chelsea’s visit to Anfield, given that Crystal Palace and Newcastle were both already safe.

Similarly for Simeone’s troops, they take in matches against two sides wrapped in the mid-table comfort blanket in Malaga and Levante.

However, in this instance, Real need Atletico to drop points in one of those games to take the battle to the final day due to Atletico’s tie-separating head-to-head advantage.

If that happens, the trip to the Camp Nou on the very last day of the season could yet trip Los Rojiblancos up at the final hurdle.

Although Atleti narrowly ousted Barca in their Champions League quarter-final, winning 2-1 on aggregate and drew with them in the reverse league fixture, their record at the Camp Nou is very poor.

The last six times Atletico have travelled to Catalan country, they’ve left defeated and shipping at least three goals each time.

Like City, it’s Real who could be the big beneficiaries and they may be worth backing at 10/3 as a result.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.